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The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 10, 2001

Philosophy of Science

Manuel Liz
Pages 29-41
DOI: 10.5840/wcp202001105

New Physical Properties

Discussions on physicalism, reduction, special sciences, the layered image of reality, multiple realizability, emergence, downward causation, and so forth, typically make the ontological presupposition that there is no room for new properties in the physical world. It is my purpose in this paper to explore the alternative hypothesis that there can be—and in fact are—new physical properties. In the first section, I will propose a brief analysis of the notions of property, physical property, and new physical property. In the second section, I will present four general situations in which it would be plausible to speak of the existence of new physical properties. All of that will be used to evaluate the content and scope of the hypothesis of physical novelty. Finally, in the third section, I will examine certain very interesting and promising consequences of such a physical novelty in relation to some of the topics above mentioned.

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